Kelly S tone Educator, Comedian, Time T raveler
The math of Daylight Savings Time adds up to appreciating the present moment
Dear Readers, This week, we’ve been involuntarily thrown back an hour. Perhaps “thrown off” an hour is a more apt description, right?
We often get so caught up in leaning in, progressing and moving forward that we forget to step back and savor the present moment. Falling back and spending time reflecting can be a true challenge, yet there’s nothing like daylight savings time to remind us that time is relative.
But what is time, really? And how on Earth does jetlag or dealing with time change even work? If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living abroad, it’s that time is an abstract concept. Trying to be present in two places at the same time, particularly when those places are on different sides of the planet, is like juggling water balloons in the fog — I can’t see everything that’s happening and somethings gotta give.
For example, the mother of my son’s sweetheart recently posted about our kids’ young and adoring relationship and wrote about their time together as a measurement in “teenage years.” She likened their eight-month relationship to eight years to a teenager, and that kind of time math hit me like a ton of bricks, especially since it’s been over a year since my kids have not been allowed to visit our home abroad. Applying that same time logic, it adds up to a rather heart-wrenching equation for us.
Einstein tells us that time can pass at different rates depending on motion and gravity. His theory of relativity doesn’t deny the existence of time but suggests that time is flexible like a rubber band, stretching and shrinking depending on perspective. Time is more of a philosophical or metaphysical quagmire. It is a human-made construct for us to organize our lives, but it doesn’t have an intrinsic existence in the physical world. It’s more a figment of our collective imagination rather than a fundamental aspect of the universe. It’s like the Matrix but without the choice between red and blue pills.
It seems less than coincidental that we play with time just when the veil between our physical world and the spiritual realm is at its thinnest. Various cultures and traditions believe that certain times of the year, like Halloween, Dia de los Muertos and All Saints’ Day, are when the boundary between our world and the spirit world is more translucent. Yet, here we are, toying with our clocks, throwing us all into a state of questioning what is real. Basically, we are being gaslighted by antiquated farming calendars, y’all.
Daylight savings time is a veritable choose-your-own-adventure where each country decides when to turn the page. In the U.S., DST starts on the second Sunday in March and wraps up on the first Sunday in November, but most EU countries follow the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. So, for me, living on two sides of the planet at once, I get to enjoy my head-circuits going bonkers as I recalculate the time differences. Math + time = hard.
I’ve also heard that for every hour of time difference, it takes about a month to fully adjust. That adds up to…carry the one…yep, eternal jetlag for someone like me who’s been ping-ponging back and forth across the pond. At this rate, I’ll never adjust.
But think about it — when it comes to daylight savings time, re-adjusting to that one simple hour can feel like an odyssey. It’s not just about the number on the clock; it’s about when the sun greets us and when we go to bed. None of it makes logical sense, but hey, welcome to the whimsical world of timekeeping, where the clocks are as changeable as the weather in Texas.
So, let’s just live-love-laugh, y’all, because no matter what the clock says, it’s the present moment that truly matters.
Xoxo, Kelly Stone is an educator, comedian, mother, and author who lves the heck outta the river. She welcomes e-letters at kellystone.org or firstname.lastname@example.org and adores handwritten notes and postcards via good ol’ snail mail.